Friends of Refugees

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Archive for the ‘xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism’ Category

Exodus Refugee Immigration files suit against Indiana Governor

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 24, 2015


The refugee resettlement agency Exodus Refugee Immigration with the assistance of the ACLU has filed suit against Indiana Governor Mike Pence and the Family and Social Services Administration, claiming the state government violated the US Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in denying support for Syrian refugees. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the governor from taking any actions to suspend, block or withhold aid from refugees or from Exodus. The governor joined 30 other governors last week in an attempt to illegally block Syrian refugees from resettling in their states; immigration be exclusively the province of the federal government. The lawsuit claims the Indiana state government has also violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin in programs receiving federal government financial assistance. An article at ABC News has the story:

A lawsuit challenging the Indiana governor’s decision to stop state agencies from helping resettle Syrian refugees alleges that the action wrongly targets the refugees based on their nationality and violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the federal lawsuit Monday night on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration. It accuses Gov. Mike Pence of violating the U.S.

Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees to Indiana from other countries but not from Syria.

The first-term Republican governor objected to plans for refugees to arrive in Indiana following the deadly attacks in Paris. Five days after the Nov. 13 attacks, a family that had fled war-torn Syria was diverted from Indianapolis to Connecticut when Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities… Read more here

Posted in ACLU, CWS, Exodus Refugee Immigration, Indiana, Syrian, Uncategorized, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

First Governor to Urge Pause Unable to Point to Single Concern in Refugee Screening

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 21, 2015

refugee logo2

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who was the first of more than 30 mostly Republican governors to attempt to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees, was unable to point to a single problem with the current refugee security checks system when asked by reporters.  The only thing he was able to come up with was the need for a nebulous “review.” Of course, a highly rigorous security system is already in place.  Also having problems explaining what concerns there may be about the current two-year screening process for refugees seeking to enter the U.S. was Governor Rick Scott of Florida.  This week while making the rounds on news outlets to explain his decision to block new Syrian refugees from coming to Florida, Scott criticized President Obama’s administration for not providing background information to Florida law enforcement agencies.  When asked what specific information his administration had asked for that it hadn’t received, Scott replied, “They don’t provide any information.”  When reporters repeatedly asked if the State had asked for any information that it had not received, Scott was unable to refer to any information his administration had requested.  New Jersey governor Chris Christie said his state will not take in any refugees – “not even orphans under the age of five”.  Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said he has directed state police to “track” the Syrian refugees in his state, which Louisiana state police then quickly played down.  Articles at Think Progress and National Public Radio gives Governor Snyder’s responses:

Michigan’s Rick Snyder was the first governor to urge a pause in admitting Syrian refugees into the United States. He triggered a national debate about refugee resettlement, and insists now that he only wants answers…

If we get to the point where we can say that review has taken place and people are confident that we have a system to let in people who have had their lives shattered, and at the same time can keep out the bad guys, hopefully we can start the process again of accepting refugees

“I wouldn’t single out any specific problem I have with it” … Read more here

Posted in Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, right-wing, security/terrorism, Syrian, Uncategorized, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Scapegoating Refugees for the Terror They Flee

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 20, 2015

75 Million Visitors to the U.S. Each Year – Why No Calls to Pause Tourism?


After the vote in the US House today to restrict Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the US why have there been no calls to tighten the flow of foreign visitors to the country?  Total international visitors to the US are projected to be more than 75 million in 2015, following 75 million that visited in 2014. If security is of paramount security why would the US Congress have no concern about the millions of visitors who receive less rigorous background and security checks than any of the 70,000 refugees resettled to the US last year?  Refugees receive more scrutiny than other other class of visitor (there were also 819,644 international students at institutions of higher education in the United States in a recent academic year). The answer is that Congressional representatives don’t believe there is a security threat from Syrian and Iraqi refugees – the people fleeing terrorism.  If they did they would have voted for a “pause” in international tourist travel to the US.  The reality here is appealing to the public’s fears for political gain, with refugees — the people with the least amount of power and most vulnerable — used as the scapegoats.  Some Democrats (47) have joined 242 Republicans (only two Republicans voted nay), which would require the FBI director to certify the background investigation for each Syrian or Iraqi refugee admitted to the United States, and Homeland Security and intelligence officials would have to certify that they are not security threats — a process FBI director Comey calls “impractical”. The vote for this bill reminds me of the Congress’ disastrous vote, also supported my many democrats, to authorize the 2003 war in Iraq in search of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Will history look upon these actions similar to how we now regret that war in Iraq, the rejection of Jewish refugees at the onset of the Holocaust, and the internment of Americans of Japanese descent during World  War II?  An article in The Guardian explains the House vote:

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would make it even more difficult for refugees from Syria and Iraq to enter the United States, in a major rebuke to the Obama administration’s refugee policy.

The White House has already said the president will veto the legislation if it is also passed by the Senate. However, if today’s margin in the House was repeated in both chambers of Congress following a presidential veto, Congress could override such a veto. The measure is unlikely to receive a vote in the Senate because of the 60-vote super-majority needed to consider a bill under Senate rules… Read more here

Posted in Iraqi, legislation, right-wing, security/terrorism, Syrian, Uncategorized, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

France says it will take 30,000 Syrian refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 19, 2015

Humanitarian measure undermines ISIS’ argument that the West is at odds with Muslims


With Republican politicians calling for their states to slam the door in the face of desperate Syrian refugees after the Islamic State attacks in Paris, France will instead be welcoming those fleeing the grips of the terrorist group. French President Francois Hollande has declared that his country will accept 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.  Meanwhile in the US, in a moment reminiscent of our nation’s shameful round-up and internment of innocent Americans of Japanese descent during WWII, Tennessee House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada said, in reference to the Syrian refugees escaping the Islamic State,”We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can.” An article in the Washington Post explains France’s plans:

In a move that puts the heated U.S. debate over taking in Syrian refugees in perspective, French President Francois Hollande declared on Wednesday that his country would accept 30,000 Syrian refugees over next two years. He announced this at a gathering of mayors from French cities, where he received a standing ovation.

Hollande said that “30,000 refugees will be welcomed over the next two years. Our country has the duty to respect this commitment…

Hollande observed that “some people say the tragic events of the last few days have sown doubts in their minds,” referring to the cloud of suspicion that has fallen on the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who arrived at Europe’s borders this year. Despite speculation, not one of the Paris attackers has so far been identified as a Syrian national.

Hollande said it was France’s “humanitarian duty” to honor its commitments to refugees…

The message flies in the face of recent statements by American Republican presidential hopefuls and governors, who have all cited the security concerns surrounding the terror attacks as reasons to halt resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States… Read more here

Posted in right-wing, security/terrorism, Syrian, Uncategorized, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Break Between Christians and GOP Over Refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 18, 2015


It looks like a break may be occurring between Christians and the GOP over the issue of helping Syrian refugees. In light of about 30 Republican governors’ and some Republican presidential candidates’ calls to discriminate against Syrian refugees – based on where they’re born and what their religion is – Christian groups involved in resettlement say this stance is opposed to what they’re hearing from their constituencies.  Faith-based voters tend to be attentive and sensitive to helping those in need.  An article in Politico explains:

Faith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war..

A push by Republican presidential candidates to ban Syrian refugees “does not reflect what we’ve been hearing from our constituencies, which are evangelical churches across the country,” said Jenny Yang, vice president for advocacy at World Relief, an evangelical organization that helps resettle refugees..

Some advocates were particularly shocked when Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, said that the U.S. should bar Syrian orphaned toddlers if necessary.

“That was offensive. That was mean-spirited,” said one advocate with a Christian group that resettles refugees. He added: “it’s disappointing because there have been Republican senators and presidents who have strongly supported this program over the years. There’s a proud tradition in the Republican Party of welcoming those who are fleeing persecution, and this takes the party in a negative direction. It’s easy to pick on vulnerable refugees who have no voice.

…faith-based groups have also stepped up their advocacy efforts for refugees. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement expressing distress over calls by elected officials to halt the resettlement program.“These refugees are fleeing terror themselves — violence like we have witnessed in Paris,” said the statement by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the conference’s committee on migration. “Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully…

The Anti-Defamation League also has spoken out in favor of helping the Syrian refugees, noting that U.S. wariness to accept Jewish refugees during World War II is an example that must not be repeated… Read more here

See also

100 N.J. religious leaders to Christie: Follow your faith, accept Syrian refugees (

U.S. Religious Leaders Make Forceful Appeal to Admit Refugees (AP-YahooNews)

Ten Reasons to Ignore All Those Governors (Baptist Standard)

Episcopal bishop asks Michigan to be a ‘good neighbor’ (Mlive)

Leaders in local religious community oppose governor’s stance (KATV ABC 7 in Little Rock)

Don’t turn Middle East refugees away, says this evangelical Christian (PRI)

Cardinal O’Malley decries calls to bar Syrian refugees (Boston Globe)

Churches step up support for Syrian refugees (Idaho State Journal)

Posted in right-wing, Syrian, World Relief, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Conservatives Pounce on Paris Attacks to Pursue Anti-immigration Agenda

Posted by Christopher Coen on November 17, 2015


Political football

After the Paris attacks, and in line with conservatives’ opposition to immigration reform, 30 republican and one democrat governors have announced opposition to resettlement of Syrian refugees and/or called for a “review” of security procedures for vetting refugees. In another sign of politically-motivated machinations not one of the governors has any authority to reject refugees, with immigration being a function of the federal government, and refugees admitted to the US as permanent residents free to live in any state they choose. With no credible threats from Syrian refugees – the very people running from ISIS and Syrian dictator Assad waging war on the Syrian civilian population – Republicans have nevertheless rushed to use the Paris attacks to opportunistically attack the humanitarian refugee program. Its worth noting that of the three million refugees the US has resettled since 1975 not one has ever committed a terrorist act here. Not deterred by mere facts Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder, who made statements welcoming Syrian refugees in just the past two weeks, has now issued an announcement outright refusing to allow Syrian refugees into Michigan. His office only later clarified that he did not generally oppose the resettlement of new Syrian refugees to Michigan, but that the state government’s efforts in the process would be suspended until further assurances from the Department of Homeland Security; although not before his first statement helped contribute to a politically hostile climate against refugees and encouraging other Republican governors to join in. All of this of course ignores that security procedures already involve a laborious  13-step, on average 18-24 month (up to three years) process of security and background checks that include investigations by the National Counterterrorism Center, the Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the State Department.  Governor Snyder and the other Republican governors’ knee-jerk reactions play into the terrorists’ plan – to create fear and divisions.  An article at The Guardian succinctly expresses the conundrum:

The 26 US states that have refused to accept Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks are playing political football – immigrants and immigration reform has already been a hot topic thrown back and forth between 2016 presidential hopefuls to demonstrate hardline positions on crime, terrorism and economic issues.

But the reversal of Michigan, where we are immigration attorneys, from trying to speed up the resettlement process to refusing refugees altogether is shocking and sends a very bleak message to the state’s residents – including the second-largest Arab American community in the country, which was looking forward to hosting them.

Republican governor Rick Snyder, a self-proclaimed “pro-immigration governor”, said Sunday that the state would not be accepting any Syrian refugees until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fully reviewed its procedures. “Our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents,” he added…  Read more here

Posted in Dept of Homeland Security, Michigan, right-wing, security/terrorism, Syrian, Uncategorized, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Banning Martian Refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 28, 2015

ban martians 1

A THREAT to American values.

Pickens County Council in S. Carolina has cast a unanimous resolution prohibiting Syrian refugees from being resettled in the county. The director of the Spartanburg SC branch of World Relief Rev. Jason Lee describes the Council’s actions as “mind-boggling”, and that “[they] can pass resolutions for Martians not to come too, because they’re not coming either.” World Relief has been resettling refugees in Spartanburg and Greenville counties, not Pickens County. Angry conservative tea party activists have spent a lot of energy sounding the alarm bells about Syrian refugees in Pickens County, where no one is resettling them. One zany activist stood before members of the Pickens County Republican Party at a meeting at Liberty Auditorium and warned the hushed crowd of about 40, breathless in anticipation, that the refugee program is part of a “CONSPIRACY orchestrated by insiders” in Washington, designed to create “a ONE-PARTY POLITICAL SYSTEM” and “enlarge a populace DEPENDENT on BIG GOVERNMENT!” She went on to charge up the crowd with panic and fear, telling attendees that the influx of “Muslims from the Middle East”, most of them men of “FIGHTING AGE”, is part of the Islamic State’s “STEALTH ATTACK” on “AMERICAN VALUES!” One almost envisions scary Middle East terrorists whipping and abusing little frightened and defenseless American values, cringing in fear. Meanwhile refugees resettled, clear over in Spartanburg county, are “persecuted Christians from the Congo and Burma. Four…from Iraq and the rest…from other African nations.” No plans for Syrian refugees being resettled there either. In fact, no one has resettled Syrian refugees at all in all of South Carolina. Nevertheless, Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill made the political pronouncement that he doesn’t like “the way” resettlement is being done, and insisted that a workshop be scheduled to answer all of his “questions.” Lee at World Relief said he invited the legislative delegations of both Greenville and Spartanburg counties to a meeting to discuss the issue, yet not one lawmaker showed up. Articles in the Greenville News by Ron Barnett attempt to explain the strange and bewildering tea party and Republican political goings on:

Members of the Pickens County Republican Party recently heard a chilling update on the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program at Liberty Auditorium….

Critics of the alarmist sentiment, however, say the meeting only serves to show how unfounded some of the fears are regarding a mass influx of immigrants that simply aren’t expected to come to Pickens County. The differing opinions on extreme opposite ends of the spectrum reveal an emotional tug-of-war that exists in the Upstate…

This week, a posting on the Pickens County News Facebook page warned: “Do you want these children of unvetted Syrians coming in to your child’s public school and sitting beside your child?… cause if one of these kids brings a real bomb clock into the classroom and your child gets blown up…whose fault is it?”…

The Rev. Keith Ray, pastor of Clemson United Methodist Church and a former member of the Greenville County School Board, said he’s concerned about “an unfounded panic” over refugees coming here.

“We don’t need meetings to create panic and fear based on our own prejudices,” he said. “Instead, understanding more about the plight of those who are having to be relocated would be most helpful…

The State Department, which oversees the program, paints a different picture…

All refugees who enter the United States are screened by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, the official said… Read more here


While those who oppose refugee resettlement here have been making their voices heard the loudest lately, there’s also a large contingent of people who support offering help to those seeking asylum, according to Lee, the World Relief official.

More than 40 pastors and others representing churches across the Upstate signed a letter of support, he said…

[Rev. Jason Lee, the director of the Spartanburg branch of World Relief] took issue with claims that the Syrians coming in are “unvetted.”

“There’s no such thing as an unvetted refugee that comes in, period,” he said.

It takes 18-24 months to go through a 13-step security and health screening process before they can be approved, he said.

He said he invited the legislative delegations of Greenville and Spartanburg counties to a meeting in June to discuss the issue, and not one Upstate lawmaker attended.

“There’s a lot of political motivation in this and that’s unfortunate, because we’re driven by Christian charity,” he said…

Miji Bell, a spokesman for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the only other organization in the state approved to resettle refugees, said no Syrians have been relocated here. Read more here

Posted in faith-based, right-wing, South Carolina, Spartanburg, Syrian, World Relief, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Right-wing spreads false impressions of migrants bringing diseases

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 11, 2015


Right wing politicians and media commentators are helping to carry on a long tradition of falsely blaming immigrants for the spread of diseases in the US. Baseless claims have included the odd assertion that migrants who cross the southwestern border of the United States being a reason in the latest measles outbreak. Not sure why they think illegal aliens are so well paid that they could take their families to Disneyland. Another claim was that unaccompanied migrant children from Central America may be carrying “deadly diseases,” including the Ebola virus, despite the fact that there is no Ebola virus in Central America. In 2006, Pat Buchanan claimed “illegal aliens” were responsible for bedbug infestations in “26 states”, though health officials attributed the increase in bedbugs to widespread use of baits instead of insecticide sprays for pest control. An article at MSNBC has the details:

…There is no evidence to support any of this, but it is part of a long and ugly pattern of demagoguery…

Jamelle Bouie had a great piece a while back highlighting the sad American tradition: Chinese immigrants in 1900 were accused of carrying the bubonic plague; Irish immigrants were accused of bringing cholera to the United States; Italians were blamed for polio; and Jews were blamed for Tuberculosis…

Today, anti-immigrant protesters hold signs asking Washington to “Save our children from diseases,” while right-wing lawmakers fret about disease screening and spread fears of infection and contamination. In doing so, both draw from a long history of ugly nativism and prejudice dressed as concern for public health. And you don’t have to be a liberal, or support immigration reform, to see that it’s a disgrace.

As we’re seeing this week, the regrettable tradition continues… Read more here

The right-wing has also been trying to blame border crossing migrants for diseases eradicated here by vaccines, claiming that the migrants are non-vaccinated. Yet 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles compared to 92 percent American kids. The Texas Observer has a recent article that does a fact check on the issue:

…Fox News commentator Cal Thomas asks, for example, if “the unaccompanied minors pouring over the border…have brought with them proof of vaccination?” Thomas accuses the border-crossers of harboring vaccine-preventable diseases such as “mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria.”

Before demonizing undocumented children, we should look at the facts: The vast majority of Central Americans are vaccinated against all these diseases. Governments concerned about health, and good parents investing in their kids, have made Central American kids better-vaccinated than Texan kids. We fear them not because they are actually sick, but because of powerful anti-immigration narratives that link foreigners to disease.

Consider, for example, Guatemala. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Guatemalan kids are more likely than Texans to be immunized for most infectious diseases. Guatemala has universal health care. Vaccines are 100 percent funded by the government.

By comparison, one in six kids in Texas is uninsured, and even insured families often must pay for vaccination. That means that many Texas kids fall behind on vaccinations, or miss them altogether when their family can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Other families refuse vaccination.

Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a Fox News commentator and former director of the ultra-conservative political group Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, writes in the McAllen Monitor that measles is among the “diseases the United States had controlled or virtually eradicated” that are “carried across the border by this tsunami of illegals.”

Fact check: UNICEF reports that 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles. That’s better than American kids (92 percent).

Furthermore, it’s absurd to claim that the U.S. has eradicated measles while Central America has not. In fact, measles outbreaks have resurged in some American cities. By contrast, according to the World Health Organization, neither Guatemala nor Honduras has had a reported case of measles since 1990…

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the Latino men who came to work rebuilding the city were accused of spreading infectious diseases such as chlamydia and HIV.

The targeting of vulnerable outsiders whenever disease breaks out is even older than this country. Historian Barbara Tuchman has described how outbreaks of plague in Europe would lead to pogroms. The lynchings of Jews, she writes “began in 1348 on the heels of the first plague deaths.” When we blame immigrants for infectious disease, we participate in a nasty—and deadly—old tradition…Read more here

Posted in CDC, health, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Conservative Canadian government deemphasizes need and vulnerability in pushing Syrian Muslims to the bottom of the list

Posted by Christopher Coen on December 18, 2014

List-512The conservative-led Canadian federal government has announced that it will be “prioritizing” ethnic and religious minorities while resettling refugees from Syria. Apparently Muslim Syrian refugees will be pushed to the bottom or off the list entirely of refugees to be resettled. The troubling move is being condemned by Canadian Muslim and non-Muslim religious leaders. If adopted, it will contradict with the United Nation policies that include helping “the most vulnerable, no matter their religious back ground”. According to the UN policies, families led by women, torture victims and those with serious medical conditions must be resettled. An article at explains the issue:

OTTAWA – Reports that Canadian government will be prioritizing religious minorities while resettling Syrian refugees has triggered a fierce criticism, accusing it of abandoning thousands of vulnerable Muslim refugees.

“We are deeply troubled by this report and we hope the federal government can provide answers,” Ihsaan Gardee, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) executive director, said in a statement obtained by on Friday, December 12.

“It is inconceivable that our government would suggest implementing a policy that creates a two-tier refugee system in which vulnerable people are assessed based on their personal religious beliefs rather than on their needs.”

Gardee’s comments followed reports that Canada is set to accept more Syrian refugees “only from the religious minorities”.

The new refugees’ trend, if adopted, will contradict with the United Nation policies that include helping “the most vulnerable, no matter their religious back ground”.

Families led by women, torture victims and those with serious medical conditions must be resettled, according to the UN policies.

Although Canada has previously accepted to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees, only 457 had arrived by mid-November, according to statistics tabled in the House of Commons…

Religious minorities make up an important and vibrant part of Syria’s culture, “and no one is suggesting that non-Muslims should not be protected,” Syrian Canadian Council spokesman Faisal Alazem stated.

“But you treat people based on the need and on the vulnerability…

Critics of the new policies blamed the conservative government for “breaking form the international community”, blowing away the traditions of the European country.

“It’s unprecedented and going in a terrible direction,” agreed Liberal immigration critic John McCallum.

“I find this shocking. To impose a religious filter is just not right.”

A similar criticism was shared by Canadian non-Muslim religious leaders.

“All of our religions teach the fundamental worth of every human being,” reads a forthcoming statement which has already been signed by several concerned faith groups and organizations including the United Church, the Presbyterian World Service and Development, and the Jewish Refugee Action Network.

“A person should never be excluded from refugee protection or resettlement on the basis of his or her religion. Refugees must be selected for resettlement based on need.”… Read more here

Posted in Canadian refugee resettlement pgrm, Islamic, right-wing, Syrian, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Conservative websites spread misinformation on influx of immigrant children

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 3, 2014


The now long ongoing influx of immigrant children across the US southern border – and highly publicized due to an increase in recent months – is now being met by a wave of misinformation spearheaded by conservative websites. The US agency responsible for apprehending the immigrants (ICE and here) and handing them over to the ORR advertised in January for contractors to aid with the transfer following ICE taking these illegal immigrants into custody. Conservative websites have locked on the issue to spread misinformation by falsely claiming that ICE is instead requesting services to transport these immigrants across the border to the US. They also claim that ICE, therefore the Obama administration, had anticipated the influx in January. Instead, the influx has actually been going on for several years with a more recent surge due to drug and gang related violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. An article in the Reno Gazette-Journal looks at this issue:

…The recent wave of publicity concerning the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America being apprehended at the southwest border has unleashed a flood of emails from readers. Many refer, directly or indirectly, to a request for information submitted Jan. 29 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the Federal Business Opportunities website titled “Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children.”

Some have asked if Homeland Security is paying to bring foreign children across the border illegally, based on some conservative websites that misinterpreted the request for information. Infowars, for example, claimed that the Obama administration is using “taxpayer money to escort illegal minors into the United States.”
Other readers asked if the Obama administration placed the advertisement “back in January” and wonder how the administration knew months ago there would be a crisis at the border.

First of all, ICE did not solicit bids for vendors to bring children across the border, as Infowars claimed. The request for information was referring to children who illegally crossed the border and were apprehended by Border Patrol agents. The private escorts would transfer “approximately 65,000” unaccompanied foreign children from Border Patrol facilities to Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters… Read more here

Posted in children, gangs, Guatemalan, ICE, ORR, right-wing, teenagers, Texas, unaccompanied minors, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


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